posted in: All, Art Lessons, USA, Work in Progress | 11

It may take hours, sometimes days. But eventually, it kicks in.

The painting is wet, alive. Perfume of linseed oil and pigment waft up from the palette where mature, complex colors await my bidding. The body warm, the dance underway, I approach the canvas with the precision a samurai.

My left fist holds multiple brushes and mixing knives making me look like Edward Scissorhands or Wolverine. On the right, a number twelve filbert stands at the ready, poised to deliver a horizontal swatch of blue violet. It goes down with complete authority and I back away. Reload. Then a vertical. A diagonal. Mark after mark, color after color, I am in the zone. Thoughts on hold, troubles aside, the work moves forward effortlessly.

But, hold up.

I need to set the record straight. This romantic and heroic version of the painting process, while absolutely true, comes only after a lot of hard work and perseverance. As much as I hate to admit it, my mentor was right about all that practice, practice, practice. It’s the same in any craft: singing, ice skating, baking, juggling, sex; you do it badly at first and work your way forward. Forget about prodigies and the notion of talent. Most of us have to put in the time, pay our dues, play a lot of scales.

So back to the samurai moment. It’s all about the brushstroke. The brush becomes an extension of the body, spanning distance between hand and canvas. The simplest of tools, little more than a wooden stick with bristles tied to one end, it hasn’t been significantly improved since the Egyptians. But oh, what it can deliver. Color, light, luscious, thick, lean, geometric. Soft. Surface. The brushstroke describes form, image, and the artist’s state of mind.

There are many paintings where you can’t see a single brushstroke, and I respect that. In fact, it takes a lot of skill to use a brush and hide all evidence. But for me, I want it out there for all to see. The energy, struggle, emotion. The journey.


11 Responses

  1. Rita Moffitt

    I agree that practice is wonderful, but you have awesome talent that just keeps getting better with each brush stroke.
    I am so glad you are sharing your journey with us. Love it!

    • artconsp

      My mentor Mr. Keys used to say, “Talent is a sickness and the only cure is hard work!”

  2. Lynnette Sandbloom

    Beautifully done. Such a story teller you are! Hugs.

  3. Renee Vines

    Beautifully written as only an artist could do. I read and feel your process!!

      • Mary Ann Kennedy

        Now it seems to have evolved into an evening scene, which I hadn’t suspected in the earlier photos. It’s even more beautiful and emotive.

        • artconsp

          Thanks Mary Ann! That’s one of the joys (and perils) of showing something in progress. You just never know what’s going to happen. Looking forward to seeing you soon!

  4. Jennifer Waldron

    Your blog excites me to get from the drawing and layout to the sensual play between brushes and paints! Thank you for another joyful reading of your artist’s interior and inspiration!

  5. simonetta

    such a superlative description of what i imagine you doing, and i love this particular painting, the composition, movement… also of the brushstroke, now even more meaningful thanks to the writing. thank you for drawing me into the details of the art 🙂

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